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Astranis MicroGEO Satellite Completes Testing Ahead of Launch 

By Rachel Jewett | March 16, 2022

Arcturus, the first MicroGEO satellite from Astranis Space Technologies undergoing vibe testing. Photo: Astranis/Business Wire

The first Astranis Space Technologies MicroGEO satellite is ready to ship to the launch site after completing final testing, the company announced Wednesday. 

Astranis has completed vibration and vibroacoustic tests, final solar array and antenna deployment tests, propulsion system tests, software tests, and electrical checkouts. Last year, the company completed a thermal-vacuum (TVAC) test campaign. 

Astranis’ novel approach is to deploy broadband satellites to Geostationary Orbit (GEO) that are much smaller than typical GEO satellites, hence the name MicroGEO. The first MicroGEO satellite, Arcturus, weighs about 350 kg. Capacity on this satellite is leased exclusively to Alaskan satellite middle-mile provider Pacific Dataport Inc. (PDI). Astranis expects this to have an immediate impact on the state’s digital divide, tripling Alaska’s available satellite bandwidth. It will be the first-ever dedicated satellite for the entire state of Alaska. 

“Having passed this final sequence of tests, our first commercial satellite is now officially ready for launch,” said John Gedmark, CEO and co-founder, Astranis. “Passing these checks is always something to celebrate, but this time it’s especially meaningful because we’re building something new the world has never seen before and sending it to space for the very first time.”

The satellite is set to launch this spring as a secondary payload on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. Astranis previously moved the satellite from Falcon 9 launch to the Falcon Heavy last year